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The definition and penalties of theft in Illinois

| Aug 19, 2020 | Criminal defense |

Theft and larceny are two words for the same criminal offense in Illinois. According to state law, theft involves intentionally taking something of value from someone else. The actual monetary value of the property taken does not affect whether the theft counts as an offense, but it does affect the penalties.

Here are some more facts about Illinois theft laws.

Elements of theft

Ways to take the property include the following:

  • Deceiving the owner
  • Threatening the owner
  • Obtaining the property knowing someone else stole it
  • Obtaining the property from law enforcement knowing someone else stole it

The person taking the property must also intend to keep the property from the owner permanently and take steps to prevent the owner from using or benefiting from the property.

Penalties for theft

FindLaw explains that charges, convictions and penalties vary depending on circumstances such as the actual cash value of the property, the nature of the theft and prior convictions. The Illinois theft convictions include:

  • Class A misdemeanor, which involves property up to $500 value: less than one-year prison sentence and as much as $2,500 in fines
  • Class 4 felony, which involves theft of government property or theft in a school or place of worship, or theft by someone with certain previous offenses: one- to three-year prison sentence and as much as $25,000 in fines
  • Class 3 felony, which involves property of up to $500 value taken directly from the owner’s person or theft valued at $500 to $10,000: two- to five-year prison sentence and as much as $25,000 in fines
  • Class 2 felony, which involves property of $10,000 to $100,000 value: three- to seven-year prison sentence and as much as $25,000 in fines
  • Class 1 felony and Class 1 nonprobational felony, which involve property of $100,000 to $500,000 value: four- to 15-year prison sentence and as much as $25,000 in fines

If the property has a value greater than $1 million, the prison sentence may be between six and 30 years and the fine may be as high as $25,000.